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How Cios Can Manage Life Sciences Ecosystem During Covid-19

Christian Hoyvald, Managing Director, Ed Kloskowski, Managing Director, EY
Christian Hoyvald, Managing Director, Ed Kloskowski, Managing Director, EY

Christian Hoyvald, Managing Director, Ed Kloskowski, Managing Director, EY

With COVID-19, the role of the CIO in life sciences companies has transformed. Together with peers in other sectors, life sciences CIOs had to rapidly adjust to a more digital world, aligning with the realities of continuing to work virtually and engage with customers digitally. It’s no exaggeration to say that today, the CIO occupies one of the most important roles in the C-suite—accelerating the digital change agenda.

Teams across the enterprise are now adapting to new ways of working: virtual sales teams, socially distanced R&D labs, emerging marketing and legal questions, and production/distribution dilemmas. All tied to the pandemic, and all disrupting existing business models

The CIO and their teams are the “frontline workers” of today’s life sciences companies. A renewed focus on key business priorities means the CIO should be finding ways to improve revenue and manage the company’s ecosystem, which includes facilitating data sharing and digitalizing workflows and processes.

Virtual Selling

Overnight, the life sciences sales ecosystem became virtual. Salesforces were physically grounded—shifting from field-based detailing to more customer support with remote detailing. This shift triggered an urgent need to reassess CRM capabilities to meet the uptick in both virtual sales and e-meetings, as well as an increase in both e-sampling and virtual medical education requests. In this volatile landscape, CRMs must also be able to accurately reflect new sales forecasts and targets. CIOs should engage sales leaders in conversations about accelerating the incorporation of AI into CRM capabilities for long-term sales guidance and effective customer engagement.

Many life sciences companies have adopted a virtual-first and customerfocused approach, leveraging webinars, telemedicine, and social media more than in the past. It is critical to manage this data stream and make connections across marketing, sales, forecasting, and planning systems. Digital first=data first.

Protect Revenue

 Today’s life sciences companies are dealing with increasing threats to the bottom line. Existing revenue management solutions may not be helping preserve revenue as promised. They lack the workflows and transaction speeds required to allow business teams to focus on optimizing revenue.

Life sciences CIOs should help business teams explore new processcentric technologies designed to protect and preserve revenue. Solutions like the forthcoming, second-generation Revenue Management Platform from EY can help. Incorporating core modules like Medicaid rebating, government pricing, gross-to net analytics, and 340B duplicate discount detection can lower costs to implement and operate, deliver faster execution times, and decrease risk-related reporting requirements. Ultimately, updating these systems will improve workflows and user experiences–directly benefiting the bottom line.

Digitalization of Workflows and Processes

Teams can no longer operate in silos. CIOs must facilitate connectivity between functions, improving the data supply chain so insights can be shared in real-time. CIOs have an opportunity to develop customercentric business models by connecting insights and analytics teams with strategy, operations, sales, and marketing. This sharing is key to meeting customers where they are today.

The post-pandemic data operating model, led by the CIO, must rely on harnessing the expanding data supply chain and harmonizing that data across functions. This is central to meeting adjusted sales targets, delivering new products and solutions, and ensuring operational efficiency and employee productivity.

Life science CIOs are using current events to earn a seat at the strategic table. From biotech to medtech to big pharma, CIOs are empowered to drive lasting strategic change. We encourage them to seize this moment and lead with confidence.

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